On the occasion of the National March for Life in Ottawa on May 12, Archbishop Christian Lépine has shared a message of solidarity. Reflecting on Psalm 139:14, “I praise you for I am wonderfully made,” Archbishop Lépine invites the faithful “to learn to contemplate the beauty of every human life” and to turn our gaze towards God who “shows us the beauty of human life.”   “Your beauty, our beauty” he continues, comes from the fact that “we are created in the image of God.” No matter what suffering and pain you may be experiencing, the wounds that you may bear, or how rejected you may feel, “God never forgets who you are”: you are wonderfully made and are precious in God’s eyes.

Archbishop Lépine’s message  along with those of Canada’s new papal nuncio, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič and Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto will be aired during the online streaming of the National Mass for Life from the Cathedral in Ottawa.  This special, bilingual mass offered for the intention of human life is celebrated annually at the beginning of the National March for Life which gathers thousands of pilgrims.  The invitation to begin the day's event with the celebration of the eucharist is a powerful reminder that the author of life and source of human dignity is God himself, and that our public witness to the dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death, finds its source in the witness of Jesus himself: “This is my body, given up for you” (Luke 22:19). These words of Jesus remind us that our lives are a gift from God and are to be offered back to him in and through the inevitable ups and downs of our daily lives.

The rally on Parliament Hill and the march through the streets of the nation’s capital that follow the mass are a public expression of the belief that every human life is sacred. They are also intended to send a message to our political representatives demanding that more be done to support human life when it is most vulnerable, for example by supporting those in need of assisted living or those individuals seeking better access to palliative care as this year's March For Life social media campaign suggests.

Archbishop Lépine’s ministry as bishop of the church in Montreal has been marked by a strong dedication to promoting human life from conception to natural death. Through the establishment of the Diocesan Centre for Marriage, Life and the Family in 2017, for example, the diocese has been able to foster an ongoing dialogue regarding the dignity of human life in light of its many contemporary challenges such as euthanasia.  One example of this is the annual evening of reflection called “Do Not Waste Your Death” on the spiritual and social repercussions of the legalization of euthanasia. A special bilingual YouTube playlist has been curated with the talks from these events as well as with homilies and teachings of Archbishop Lépine on the sanctity of human life, which we invite you to consult.

Please join Archbishop Lépine in prayer and in solidarity with all those from the Archdiocese of Montreal who will gather in Ottawa on this day and consider participating through the streaming of the March for Life events at home or in your parish. Why not share Archbishop Lépine’s message your networks as well? Together, “may we learn to recognize the beauty of every human life” and share this beauty with everyone.